Human Rights Violations amidst Political Crisis in Sri Lanka
Date: 11 April 2022
Host: Rita Manchanda, Women’s Regional Network (WRN) Board Member.
Guest: Nimalka Fernando, Lawyer, President of International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination (IMADR), Former Commissioner of the Office of Missing Persons, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s full-blown financial meltdown has sparked a political crisis that has brought thousands of women and men to the streets demanding a regime change. A regime that swept into power on the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian platform in 2019 worked to further deepened the ethnic divide. It has intensified militarisation, surveillance and brutal suppression of freedom of expression. It has derailed the accountability process of war crimes and undermined the investigations into enforced disappearances. Sri Lanka has the highest enforced disappearances in the world.
Listen to the coversation between Rita and Nimalka on the following areas:
- What are some of the worse features of the rollback on human rights and accountability in the country? Have the Office of Missing Persons been able to continue?
- How are the vulnerable, particularly the women coping during the economic crisis they experience with high inflation, shortage of essentials, power cuts and disruption in income?
- Sri Lanka is known for women’s mobilisation during the ethnic war. However, the current demonstrations highlight more the mobilisation of ethnic groups. Is the current rallies and protest bridging the deepening ethnic divide?
- What are the prospects of loosening the suppression of human rights imposed by the government? Will there be a rollback on anti-terror laws, suppression of descent, and freedom of expression?
- Does the financial help offered by India and Bangladesh and any support from South Asian civil society groups help in this situation?